In December I will be travelling from the UK to Thailand, it will be both mine and my spouses first holiday abroad (I have travelled for business previously). We purchased suitcases a couple of weekends ago, both for checked and cabin baggage. I have no concerns about the checked baggage as I am fairly confident this is pretty straight forward, however reviewing a few websites I am confused as to whether the cases I have bought to use for cabin stowage are inappropriate.

I have purchased two of this style of case (not exact model): Baggage

According to the official site for emirates the cabin baggage sections states

You may board with one piece of carry-on baggage, subject to the following size and weight limitations: Handbag: 55 cm x 38 cm x 20 cm (22" x 15" x 8")

and then later

Please note that rolling bags with built-in wheels and retractable handles will be permitted as cabin baggage only if the total dimensions (length, width and height) add up to less than 114 cm (45"45 inches). The larger, overnight models of this type of bag will not be permitted in the cabin.

Both cases fit withing the 55 cm x 38 cm x 20 cm (22" x 15" x 8") stated dimensions, including the wheels on the bottom. The only points I am concerned about are the fact it refers to everything as a "bag" or "handbag" - neither terms are what I would used to describe this type of luggage, and the fact it (rather ambiguously in my interpretation) states The larger, overnight models of this type of bag will not be permitted in the cabin.. I am not sure if this is referring to this particular style of case, which I have heard described as an "overnight case" but I unsure if this is based on the design or the size, regardless of its dimensions?

Basically, I just need to know if the style of case pictured above that falls within the 55 cm x 38 cm x 20 cm (22" x 15" x 8") size limit is appropriate to be used as cabin baggage on an Emirates economy flight, or if I need to purchase something closer to a "duffel bag"?

  • 3
    I think you’re overthinking the issue. The bag you are showing is the prototypical “rolling bags with built-in wheels and retractable handles will be permitted”. You’re putting too much emphasis on stereotyping “bag/ handbag” to be the traditional duffel bag type. I think you’re fine. I would have been a little concerned if it was one of those budget airlines who nickel and dime passengers to make money from luggage. Aug 13, 2018 at 10:23
  • @MusoniusRufus Yeah, its a fair comment - I assumed we were okay, but it'd be pretty horrififying turning up to check-in and being told the 14KG of luggage we have can't board the plane. This was more a case of making sure when I was already 80% confident. Thanks.
    – James T
    Aug 13, 2018 at 10:47
  • They may still ask you to check it in the plane. I had a small roll-aboard that they wanted me to check. I said nope, it's got my 2 kids' supplies in it. We were only putting it and a backpack above our seats. Everything else was going under the seats.
    – mkennedy
    Aug 13, 2018 at 18:29
  • Size-wise you are fine. That's a perfectly normal roll-aboard bag with normal size. You will have to watch the weight: Emirates caps this at 7kg, which is not much for a bag of that size and chances are you can't fill them up without going over weight
    – Hilmar
    Aug 19, 2018 at 13:50

1 Answer 1


Airlines are not concerned about whether carry on luggage is soft or hard sided, as long as it fits their size limits.

These days more and more airlines ask people with the maximum size of allowed hand luggage to gate check it if the plane is full or even when they have not paid extra to be allowed to bring it aboard.
For that is also does not matter whether it is soft or hard sided, I have repeatedly had my soft sided 'in cabin' bag been given the tag 'may need to be gate checked'. (I have been lucky enough to never have to hand it over.)

In case you have to hand it over at the gate, you are allowed to take out those things that should not go in the hold, like your laptop and your medication. So have a smaller bag inside the case, so you can easily take your things out of your case and into the plane.


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